There are sooo many influential composers for flutists who have had an influence on music! So what I would like to do is create a list of composers that have had an influence on me and my flute journey. It will be exciting to see which composers will be in your journey!
We are so lucky to have 7 Flute Sonatas by one of the most brilliant and complex composers EVER! J. S. Bach teaches us so much about voicing, which is the emphasis of specific notes or phrases to bring out a melody, and texture and form.
How you play Bach says a lot about your creativity and depth as a musician. There are so many ways to interpret Bach, and since we are still learning about how they performed things in his day, a lot of the different ways can be supported. Bach Sonatas are another one of those foundational pillars in our flute repertoire.
For someone who was apparently was annoyed with the flute at the time, W. A. Mozart wrote wonderful and elegant music for the flute. It is so well written, in fact, that it is on EVERY major audition anywhere for anything. You HAVE to be able to play Mozart well to get any kind of Classical job.
His ability to write in a way that fits the flute so well, but requires such control, elegance, and understanding of style has kept flutists on their toes for AGES! Freedom within form is what you learn from Mozart. Spontaneity within obedience, and then knowing which rules to bend. Mozart was the master at that, and we get to figure out how to do our version of that on the flute.
When you think of French flute music, one man that comes to mind is Philippe Gaubert. He was a teacher at the Paris Conservatory, and he would write pieces that were kind of like etudes, but much more beautiful. These pieces were used kind of like jury pieces, and everyone had to play them.
In our Flute Music by French Composers, he is the only composer with TWO pieces. He also teamed up with Paul Taffanel to write some of theeeee most famous and amazing Daily Exercises. Get ready to hear his name all of the time. 🙂
This is one of the first major flute Sonatas where flute players were like “Hey! We’re really awesome too! We can play gritty things like the string players do!”
In fact it was so much like a string Sonata that the famous violinist David Oistrakh (whom you should all listen to) asked Sergi Prokofiev to arrange a transcription for the violin! It is full of beautiful melodies and intense technical passages that has become one of the great standards of advanced flute music. These works are extremely popular for more technical flutists.
For me, Toru Takemitsu represents the new flute that is happening right now, every day in the contemporary music world. The extended techniques that include singing, yelling and speaking, along with all of the other more standard pitch bends, multiphonics, flutter, etc come together to create a seamless type of storytelling.
Oh the new worlds that open up when we start to discover the incredible creativity of the different musical creators from this world!